The Ohio River port in Jeffersonville has just been awarded a more than half-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve shipments for Nucor Steel and other companies.

The Ports of Indiana authority says the USDOT Maritime Administration provided the funding to improve access for a barge shuttle to deliver steel coils.

The $545,000 grant will be put towards a nearly $800,000 project that includes the construction of a 1.2-acre outdoor storage area and the purchase of a forklift to be used for handling steel.

“This grant funds a critical component of a new barge shuttle service that will allow Nucor to better utilize our Jeffersonville port’s cargo handling facilities to serve customers and to grow future business,” said Ports of Indiana Senior Vice President Jody Peacock.

By adding the river shuttle service, Nucor and other partners will be able to take 2,000 trucks off the highways which haul steel between Jeffersonville and Ghent, Kentucky, where Nucor operates a mill.

“We’re excited to partner with Nucor and our family of port companies to develop this project,” said Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville Port Director Jeff Miles. “This port provides critical multimodal connections for steel shipments and steel processors in the Midwest. We have 13 steel-related companies on-site that make our ‘Steel Campus’ a key transportation hub for U.S. steel producers, automakers and manufacturing facilities.”

Ports of Indiana is providing the local funding match and will manage the grant administration.